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neil mulholland


Published June 18th Journal of Artistic Research, Issue 3


Shift/Work has arisen from a number of learning experiments conducted in Edinburgh Sculpture Workshop and at Edinburgh College of Art. Our shared concern is with addressing the failings of neoliberal art education in the Anglosphere that focuses solely on nurturing personal ontology. The unquestioned assumption here is that art (and education) is concerned with personal development, self-awareness, auto-critique, self-confidence… Today’s artists and art students compete to develop a private index of values, and thus to invalidate the research-value of their work as a transferable contribution to knowledge. The self-centredness of creative personal ontology encourages an apolitical and fallacious solipsism that does not develop practice or generate research. Shift/Work supports social actors who are learners within communities of practice. Key to this is an open engagement with practice (work) as a means of both generating and transferring new knowledge (shift). Shift/Work is an attempt to establish a collective ontology for practice, creating process-led pedagogy, critically reflecting upon the learning processes involved, and disseminating research on a share-and-share-alike basis. This paper describes and analyses the genesis of Shift/Work as an ongoing iterative process.

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